According to the Buddhist teacher Stephen Batchelor, author of Alone with Others and The Art of Solitude, the English language has an advantage over some other languages, in that the word “solitude” is relatively value-neutral, as compared with “loneliness”, which has a negative connotation. Sherry Turkle, author of Alone Together, says that if we don’t teach our children how to be alone, they will only know how to be lonely.
Human aloneness is a fact. We are born alone and we die alone. Resisting the fact of our aloneness breeds anxiety, which in turn precipitates neurosis. To accept the fact of our aloneness as a necessary polarity over and against the fact that we are social beings is to deepen our awareness, and hence our wisdom.
Learning to pay attention to our inwardness is a gift we give to ourselves and, paradoxically, to the world.
Please consider sharing this post with someone if you found it helpful.
You can sign up to receive these posts here.